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Debate Brews Over 21st CCLC Funding

Check out my story today on the debate over how funding from the 21st Century Community Learning Center federal grant program should be allocated.

Recent legislation has been proposed in Congress that could affect 21st CCLC's eligibility and accountability requirements, and divisions have emerged over whether it's wise to widen the scope of 21st CCLC funding to allow expanded learning time models—which add time to the school year, week, or day—to apply for these grants. Some worry that by including ELT programs, the out-of-school-time programs that have traditionally received funding could see significant cutbacks in the grant amounts or number of grantees that receive money.

Others have seen the debate as an opportunity to discuss the future of programs and school models that focus on using extra time to bring students who are falling behind up to speed.

Currently, the funding supports 3,300 active grants totaling $1.1 billion for what is one of the fastest growing federal grant programs in history.

I have received a flurry of emails in the past few weeks from 21st CCLC grantees who wanted to share stories about their efforts and challenges to make these programs effective and sustainable, especially when funds are tight. I hope to use some of these stories for blog fodder in the future.

For some background on expanded learning time, see my archived webinar from last month here.

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